To enter into the presence of another human being ... is to enter into the presence of God in a new and different way. — Stephen L. Carter
Drawing upon the first Unitarian Universalist Principle, which affirms the inherent worth and dignity of all people, this session rests on the idea that goodness and justice require more than tolerance of diversity. Children are given guidance to actively embrace differences as they learn to see others — indeed, all living beings — with awe.
In traditional religious terms, as stated in the quotation from Stephen L. Carter's Civility, we bring awe to that of God in every living being. A non-theist might bring awe to the Spirit of Life, the "inner light" or simply the uniqueness in every person.
"Respect" is added to the Moral Compass in this session. When we see another with awe, our respect for them is activated. Justice and goodness will surely follow.
The activities in this session require a certain amount of trust among the group, as well as prior acquaintance. This session should not be moved to an earlier place in the curriculum, unless the group is already well established. This session will benefit from the inclusion of at least one, additional adult volunteer who knows the children. This will help the group build sincere, authentic affirmations in Activity 5, the affirmation portraits exercise.
This session will:
- Explore the implications of the first Unitarian Universalist principle, the inherent worth and dignity of every person
- Introduce the idea of "awe" and the notion that all living beings are worthy of awe
- Acquaint participants further with one another as they learn to value their similarities and differences
- Demonstrate that seeing others with awe leads to interactions that are characterized by justice and goodness
- Help participants experience themselves as valued members of the Moral Tales community
- Guide participants to identify their own gifts and talents, as well as those of their peers.
- Hear a story about some children who learn to see each other with awe
- Think about what they value in each of their peers and articulate these observations as they write or draw them on affirmation portraits
- Identify and name things that they enjoy and/or are good at
- Make a self-portrait.